Thiago Santos vs Jon Jones: "Squared Up" UFC 239 Predictions

Jason Paglia

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 6:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 3, 2019 6:46 PM UTC

Can Santos do the impossible or is it business as usual for Jones?

<div><p>The infamous Jon Jones looks to defend his Light-heavyweight championship for the 10th time against the #2 ranked LHW fighter in the world, Thiago Santos. It all goes down in the main event, Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC:239. Let's break it down!</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>THIAGO SANTOS (21-6) vs JON JONES (24-1) </strong></h2><div style="text-align:center"><a href="" target="_blank" title="THIAGO SANTOS vs JON JONES Odds Board"><strong>03:00 - Sunday 7<sup>th</sup>, Jul 2019</strong></a></div><div style="text-align:center"> </div><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:625px;height:417px" /></p><h2><strong>Thiago Santos:</strong></h2><p>Thiago Santos walks into the T-Mobile Arena Saturday night as the #2 ranked Light-heavyweight fighter in the world. However, his path to Saturday night started back in 2010 when he was chosen to be part of the UFC reality show, ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil’. Despite not becoming the Ultimate Fighter and winning the show’s contract prize, he was still signed by the UFC and made his debut at UFC: 163. He lost his first fight to Cezar Ferreira by submission, and was not impressive through his first 9 fights, sporting a mediocre 5-4 record. After suffering a loss at UFC: 175 to Uriah Hall , a switch was finally flipped in Thiago Santos. Since January of 2015 , Thiago Santos has won 12 of his last 15 fights for the number one MMA promotion in the world. Finally in September of 2018, Santos moved up in weight to his current weight class at light-heavyweight where he has gone 3-0. With Saturday’s title opportunity, he steps up to the door of immortality. Will he ring the bell and walk through it? Below is a look at Thiago Santos , by the numbers.</p><p><strong>STATS:</strong></p><p><img alt src="" style="width:100%" /></p><p><strong>PROS:</strong></p><p>• <strong>Power</strong> (When Santos made the change to Light-heavyweight, I though his power would be less effective against bigger opponents. I was wrong, those hands could knockout a super-heavyweight fighters.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking Accuracy</strong> (Santos is a stud in the pocket. He is a sniper who always seems to push that button on the jawline. His counter-striking game and combinations have gotten better the last two years, and he no longer looks for the kill shot, one punch at a time.</p><p>• <strong>LEG KICKS !!!</strong> (He has to chop trees down with those leg kicks as a hobby. Not many fighters can TKO you without punching you in the face, but Santos is one of them. Men have wept in the Octagon when he kicks their liver into the stands. It’s cringe worthy.)</p><p><strong>CONS:</strong></p><p>• <strong>Chin</strong> (Santos has only been knocked out three times in his career but, he has been dropped a bunch of times. That is a problem when you are fighting the best.)</p><p>• <strong>BJJ</strong> (Santos has a solid offensive top control / wrestling game. If he gets you there, a ground and pound breakfast is in your future, but his offensive Brazilian jiu jitsu is lacking. Have you ever been impressed with him on his back looking for a submission? How about going for a submission period? Exactly.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:625px;height:417px" /></p><h2><strong>Jon Jones: </strong></h2><p>This will be short because Jon Jones annoys me. We all know he is a phenom. We all know he might be the best MMA fighter of all-time, or at least the last 20 years. We all know he should be 25-0. Unfortunately for Jon, he is a complete walking s**t show who cost himself his only loss due to illegal 12-6 elbow strikes. We all know he has successfully defended his Light-heavyweight championship nine times. We all know…… blah, blah, blah. You get it, below is a look at Jon Jones by the numbers.</p><p><strong>STATS:</strong></p><p><img alt src="" style="width:100%" /></p><p><strong>PROS:</strong></p><p>•<strong>Everything</strong> (It is not hyperbole to say this man is the greatest MMA fighter of all time. There are only 5 fighters in the conversation. Jones, Mighty Mouse, GSP, Silva and Nurmagomedov. Personally I would add Daniel Cormier to that list but, Jones has beat him multiple times, by default he can’t be the best.)</p><p>Jones does everything well, he is the definition of a well rounded MMA fighter. His chin is rock solid, he has the height and reach on everyone, He has striking power and accuracy in every limb, incredible fight IQ, great BJJ, phenomenal take down defense. HE HAS IT ALL.</p><p><strong>CONS:</strong></p><p>•<strong>S****y Life Choices</strong> ( The one knock on Jon Jones isn’t as a fighter, it’s as a human being. He is a shitty human being, let’s just get it out there. He is a man baby. He gets into car accidents and leaves the scene of a crime. He has been popped for a banned substance 3 or 4 times before &amp; after his fights. He is a cheater. MULTIPLE TIMES….. You have to be a certain kind of person to know the extreme public shaming you will receive as a result of popping for a 3rd time and do it anyway. I bring this up because in all his chaos outside the Octagon it has yet to effect him inside the Octagon. BUT eventually that will change, and before he reitres. Is Saturday that day?)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:625px;height:346px" /></p><h2><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></h2><p>This fight, like every fight Jon Jones has is his fight to lose. He will always run the risk of getting dropped for a TKO defeat. He fights in a division where the men hit hard. Thiago Santos hits especially hard. Santos is a solid counter-puncher, he has finally put combinations together routinely in the pocket, has stamina for days, and leg kicks that could easily put Jones down.</p><p>Personally, I might throw a half unit on Santos by TKO at (10.0) for spite due to my dislike for Jones, but you should NOT do that.</p><p>There are two reasons why Thiago Santos will lose this fight. #1 He has a glass jaw. If you have been knocked out a couple times against UFC welterweights, Jon Jones is capable of destroying that jaw permanently. #2 If Jones decides to take this fight to the ground and get his submission chops up, Santos is equally screwed because he is terrible on his back. That is the conundrum here. Jones can end this fight both ways, equally.</p><p>Because of this, there will be no official pick this week for the main event, but if you want to know which way I lean, it’s Jon Jones by TKO at (2.70).</p><p><strong>LEAN:</strong></p><ul> <li>Jon Jones by TKO at 17/10 (2.70) 1u</li></ul><div> </div><div style="text-align:center"><a href=";a=9feaaf7a-d7a2-4185-974a-81ad171951df&amp;f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="" style="width:100%" /></a></div></div>
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